Unfortunately, the new recruitment program being launched by Mayor Bernard C. “Jack” Young and Police Commissioner Michael Harrison will not cure the internal problems of the Baltimore Police Department (“‘The greatest comeback story in America,’” July 9). And their first big mistake is that they “hope the campaign will help fill the department’s ranks, particularly with more women, minorities and city residents.” It should read the “best and most qualified candidates to include women, minorities and city residents.”
Becoming a police officer requires a certain type of individual and is not an occupation that can be done by anyone. You have to be physically fit, intelligent enough to understand the laws of Baltimore, and be able to engage in dangerous situations. That in itself is a statement you won’t find in too many job descriptions. Why do you think they carry guns?
But there is still the problem of why so many police officers leave the department itself. When you are 500 officers shy of requirements and for every 95 raw recruits you hire, you lose 100 seasoned police officers, you have a big problem.
Commissioner Harrison should look at a campaign to retain the professionally trained officers on the force today. Why are they leaving? There are many reasons, including retirement, illness, being forced out and people leaving for better pay or working conditions. I think the Sun should investigate this aspect of the police department’s personnel problems with police officers.
There is a cancer in the police department that needs to be identified and cured before you can hope to see the problems it causes to be eradicated. Until then, more will leave then can be brought in and the ranks will never be filled. My last point is overtime should not be a selling point for recruitment.